News Archives

GFX Cafe Seminar: The Illusion of Life, Revisited

April 27, 2007

  • Date: Friday, April 27th, 2007 
  • Time: noon — 1:15 pm 
  • Place: ARTS Lab Theatre

Ken Perlin 
Media Research Lab, NYU

Abstract: Many years ago Walt Disney spoke of the quest to create the “Illusion of Life”.  In fact in every era of human history, this quest has evolved new kinds of literacy, from the first cave paintings to the written word, music, drama, cinema, animation and beyond.  Recently it has become possible to create this illusion interactively.  But what makes for an effective experience, once an audience can respond back? What makes us care about an interactive character?  We will show some recently developed techniques for breathing life into interactive characters.  These techniques may point the way to a new era where cinema intersects with interactive narrative and on-line community.

And we’re also going to make sheep waltz.

Bio:  Ken Perlin is a professor in the Department of Computer Science at New York University, He was founding director of the Media Research Laboratory and  also directed the NYU Center for Advanced Technology from 1994-2004. His research interests include graphics, animation, user interfaces, science education and multimedia. In January 2004 he was the featured artist at the Whitney Museum of American Art. In 2002 he received the NYC Mayor’s award for excellence in Science and Technology and the Sokol award for outstanding Science faculty at NYU. In 1997 he won an Academy Award for Technical Achievement from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for his noise and turbulence procedural texturing techniques, which are widely used in feature films and television. In 1991 he received a Presidential Young Investigator Award from the National Science Foundation.

Dr. Perlin received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from New York University in 1986, and a B.A. in theoretical mathematics from Harvard University in 1979.  He was Head of Software Development at R/GREENBERG Associates in New York, NY from 1984 through 1987. Prior to that, from 1979 to 1984, he was the System Architect for computer generated animation at Mathematical Applications Group, Inc., Elmsford, NY, where the first feature film he worked on was TRON. He has served on the Board of Directors of the New York chapter of ACM/SIGGRAPH, and currently serves on the Board of Directors of the New York Software Industry Association.